Sting isn't the right word. It was more than that, really. It was a blow. A hard right to the jaw that dropped me to my knees.
After her sorta-boyfriend broke up with her on the telephone by pretending he was someone else (kids today!), I was really angry. Not about the break-up; my 12-year-old daughter doesn't really date, she just sorta "likes." And if the guy likes her too, then I suppose it's a relationship of some sort. But relationships end, and when this one did, she was fine.
I wasn't. It wasn't the rejection that bugged me, but how it went down.
"[The kid] broke up with me," she said. The weird thing was, he called and pretended to be his brother. Like I wouldn't know the difference."
I wanted to find the kid and punch him. To make her feel better I said something to her about calling him out for being a goof. She laughed, and I gave her a hug.
A few days later, she realized I would soon be in the same room with him at a sports banquet, and worried I may have been more serious about calling him out than she first thought. She asked me not to talk to him. I hedged a bit, although she probably didn't realize that because of the subtle way I did it.
I wanted to leave the door open, just in case.
The boy and I had a nice chat at the banquet. Well, I thought it was nice. He, as it turns out, thought I was a jerk and spread that opinion among his friends who were there. Of course, 30 minutes into the event, my daughter heard the news.
"Dad, you're embarrassing to me!"
It wasn't the voice of a kid who said that. It was, instead, the voice of a young woman who was truly embarrassed. She was horrified, and should have been.
I was wrong.
(To be continued)